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Climate Crisis across the World

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August 24, 2022

Why in news?

There have been alarming changes in climate across the countries in the world.

What is the climate issue across the countries?

Europe’s case

  • Drought- The 2018 drought was described as the worst in 500 years.
  • The precipitation has been far less than usual, while temperatures have soared to unprecedented levels.
  • Record heat- Unusually high temperatures have led to increased evaporation of surface water and soil moisture.
  • The Netherlands, which receives plenty of rainfall, is having one of the driest years ever, and Germany received only half its normal rain in July.
  • Waterways- With water levels down to less than a metre in some stretches, most large ships have been rendered unusable to move cargo in an economical manner.
  • Power- Lack of adequate water has affected the operation of nuclear power plants, which use large amounts of water as coolant.
  • The result has been a shortage of electricity and an unprecedented rise in energy prices.
  • Food crisis- And this has come on top of the massive energy and food-supply implications of the Ukraine war.

drought

China’s case

  • Heatwave- China has been grappling with its worst heatwave in over 60 years, with temperatures in several regions crossing 40 degree Celsius.
  • The country issued its first national drought alert of the year.
  • The country issued a red alert heat warning, the highest of its four-tier warning system to at least 165 regions across the country.
  • Rainfall- In some parts, authorities are attempting to induce rainfall through ‘cloud seeding’ — a process through which rockets carry chemicals into the sky to induce rainfall in drought-affected regions.
  • Power outages- Shanghai authorities have switched off lights at some of the city’s most popular sites to conserve power.
  • Rivers drying up- The country’s longest river, Yangtze, which caters to about a third of the Chinese population, is seeing water levels drop to record lows.
  • Two of the country’s biggest freshwater lakes, Poyang and Dongting, have touched their lowest levels since 1951.
  • Wildfires- Amid the ongoing heatwave, wildfires have also swept across forests and mountains in multiple districts across Chongqing.

At present, the world is about 1.1-1.3 degrees warmer than during pre-industrial times.

What is the Climate & Health Bill signed by Joe Biden?

  • The Inflation Reduction Act, signed by President Joe Biden will make big investments in the environment and health care, and increase taxes on some key groups.
  • The Bill includes policies
    • lowering the prices of prescription drugs
    • increasing the generosity of Medicare benefits
    • encouraging the development of renewable energy
    • reducing the impact of climate change
  • It will raise taxes on some corporations and bolster the ability of the Internal Revenue Service to crack down on wealthy tax evaders to lower the federal deficit.
  • The current Bill also includes clean electricity incentives.
  • It also pairs new climate spending with several major concessions to the fossil fuel industry.

The Inflation Reduction Act is projected to reduce deficits by roughly $275 billion over 10 years, while the Build Back Better plan passed by the House in November would have added about $160 billion to deficits.

 

References

  1. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-europes-great-drought-8107833/
  2. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/china-record-heatwave-drought-explained-8107772/
  3. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-global/joe-biden-us-climate-health-bill-explained-8094682/
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